Venetian Impressions

P1040604

I’m back from Venice and still processing. A lot of what I saw was just the way I remembered it, a lot was better, many things were worse. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many tourists in my life. Tourists as such are no fun because you never get to see anything in peace, you’re always pushed and shoved but in Venice tourism takes on bizarre forms. I’m not going to go into all of that, I’ll rather leave you with some of my favourite photographic impressions.

P1040720

As you may easily notice, I’m fond of Venetian masks. We even found the shop who manufactured the masks for the movie Eyes Wide Shut.

P1040832

P1040600

Not everyone may be as fond of masks as I am , so here are a few other impressions.

P1040546

P1040541

P1040718

P1040912

P1040772

P1040809

P1040611

P1040598

P1040654

P1040728

P1040895

P1040892

P1040719

P1040609

P1040700

P1040833

As some of you know I wanted to find one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world, The Libreria Alta Aqua. It was quite a challenge to be honest as the bookshop is hard to find, but we managed in the end. Most photos are a bit blurred, but I made some, which show quite nicely what an amazing shop it is. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bookshop that was this crammed, using every little bit of space. Many of the books are stored in old boats. If you wonder, I didn’t feel tempted to buy anything. As picturesque as it was to visit the shop, the books are very damp and that’s something I’m not too keen on.

P1040857

P1040861

P1040864

P1040866

P1040874

P1040878

P1040869

I have taken a lot of other photos, notably in areas where there were no tourists, but I’ll keep those for another day.

After having read Guy’s comment below, I thought I add this link that will tell you more about the “secret of the padlocks”.

Short Break

Venice

As many of you know, I’m off to Venice this week and therefore taking a short blogging break until the second week of October.

I’ve scheduled my readalong post and will probably answer comments but I’m not online otherwise.

I hope you’re all doing great and enjoying the autumnal weather.

See you in October.

I’m Back – Moroccan Impressions

P1040261

I’m back. Almost. It seems that whenever I travel somewhere my body returns earlier than the rest. So while I’ve been back for a couple of days, I’m still somehow stuck in Morocco. Peculiar. Does that happen to anyone else?

I enjoyed it a great deal but it was stressful. We did such a lot and met so many people as we travelled with different people who knew other people in Marrakech and Essaouira. I suppose I’ve seen a few things tourists usually do not see like work shops in which they make wooden boxes and furniture and such.

The temperature was quite high in Marrakech, 38°/100°, while it was cool and very windy in Essaouira, 19°/66°. I was worried it would be too cold in Switzerland but the last couple of days the temperature was around 25°/77°.

I took a lot of pictures in Marrakech but hardly any in Essaouira. What follows are just a few impressions.

P1040264

P1040029

The top picture and these pictures show the famous place, Djemma el Fna, in the heart of Marrakech. The city is divided into two halves, a modern one and the old part with the Medina and covered souks. The place is just located in front of the souks, in the old town. A feature of Marrakech that I like a lot is that there are ramparts around the whole of the old town.

During the day there is some activity but it’s at night that the place really comes to life. I wouldn’t say that it’s a beautiful place as such but it’s incredibly interesting as time seems to have come to a standstill here. There are numerous people performing acts with animals, like medieval jugglers, others are selling things, offering henna tattoos. At night hundreds and hundreds of food stalls offer various food. Mostly grilled meat, fish and vegetables. The place is quite noisy as people laugh and shout, drums and flutes are ebing played. It’s picturesque and colorful to say the least.

P1040124

The Jardin de Majorelle which belonged to Yves St Laurent, is a big attraction and very beautiful. Since I’ve been there ten years ago it has been redecorated and the colors were stunning and intense.

P1040091

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many and such big Bougainvillea bushes.

P1040082

It’s lovely to stand under the bamboo and listen to the wind softly rustling in the leaves.

P1040152

There are various ponds and fountains in the garden.

P1040118

The main colors the buildings are painted in are Yves Klein blue, yellow, green and white.

P1040144

Hotel Garden

We stayed in a Riad in the heart of the medina. A stunning place which received a lot of media coverage in Germany and Switzerland. It belonged to the German ambassador in Marrakech and was transformed into a guest house after his death. This is the hotel garden.

P1030988

The center piece of the hotel garden.

Roof of Riad

A view over the roof of the hotel.

P1030944

The entrance to the souks. For some vendors business was a bit slow that day.

P1030947

One of the many beautiful gates in the medina.

The medina is a giant market. You can find a lot of lovely things in many different materials. Woodwork, spices, fabrics, jewellery, food.

Cat in Medina

This little kitty was sleeping peacefully in the middle of the poultry market. I didn’t take pictures of the market. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

P1040216

This is a sight you don’t see every day. On the road to Essaouira you find Argan trees. The fruit look like big olives. They are used for making argan oil which is very fashionable at the moment. Even big cosmetic lines like L’Oréal use the oil. It can also be used like olive oil for salad. It tastes very different though, a bit like walnut oil.

The goats climb these trees as they are very keen on the fruit. Along the road you will see many a tree covered in goats. So funny.

P1040219

I didn’t know goats could climb so well.

P1040230

Essaouira is located on the Atlantic ocean. This is the view from the hotel room. The guest house we stayed in belongs to Swiss people who built it two years ago, practically into the ocean. At night the waves can come as high as the second story windows.

P1040245

The streets in Marrakech and Essaouira are swarming with cats. Most of the cats I saw in Marrakech were very ill and starving. In Essaouira you always saw some food that was left for the cats. They looked quite healthy. I saw numerous boxes like this one with many kittens. The cutest was a box which three female cats shared with their offspring. A total of 16 kittens. Unfortunately it was impossible to take a picture. They moved too much.

That’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed it.  I might share a few pictures from Essaouira in another post.

I’ll be visiting your blogs shortly. I noticed some of you were busy.